Coming to America - Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray / Media Reviews' started by Michael Scott, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    Coming to America


    [​IMG]
    Movie: :4stars:
    Video: :3.5stars:
    Audio: :3stars:
    Extras: :2.5stars:
    Final Score: :3.5stars:



    [​IMG] Movie

    Coming to America is what I would consider the movie that put Eddie Murphy on the map as a bankable comedic actor. He had already had a successful set of stand up comedy routines, done the insanely funny Trading Places, 48 hours, and the abysmal The Golden Child, but after Coming to America Eddie Murphy was one of the go-to guys for studios when they wanted a funny lead that would pull in the box office monies. It didn’t help that John Landis, who started his comedic career with Trading Places (48 hours was funny, but nowhere near the comedic film nature), would be the one to direct another box office smash by the king of “hu hu hu!!!!”. It’s a far cry from his later career when he would star in such painful films like Pluto Nash, and back in a time when his enthusiasm for comedy outweighed his desire for a simple “paycheck n go”.

    Eddie Murphy is Prince Akeem of the fictional African nation of Zamunda. He’s living in the lap of luxury, but like most men in modern eras, is balking at the idea of an arranged marriage by his father, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones). Refusing to marry his father’s choice, Prince Akeem tells his father that he is going to America where he fill find his OWN bride. The thing is, King Jaffe has NO idea that Prince Akeek is going over there to search for a bride. He thinks that his son is going over there for an extended “bachelor party”, when in fact the sneaky little prince is figuring a way to get out from under his father’s thumb and gain a bridge of his own choosing.

    Accompanied by his best friend and trainer Semmi (Arsenio Hall in a hilarious role), Akeem movies to New York city where he has to take residence in a slummy apartment and working minimum wage at a restaurant. Soon after Akeem falls in love with Lisa (Shari Headley) who is a black awareness activist, and happens to be the DAUGHTER of restaurant’s owner that he and Semmi work at. However, Lisa is dating a hair care model named Darryl, and Akeem has to turn on the charm and try to prove to Lisa, her father Cleo (John Amos), and King Jaffe that defying tradition and following your heart is the true path to happiness.
    [​IMG]
    Coming to America is a product of the 1980s, and it does such with such gust and glee that you can’t help but get involved with the enthusiasm. Eddie Murphy was on top of the world at the moment, and his comedic timing with Arsenio Hall (who is a hilariously underrated comedian in my opinion) to make the jokes work at full speed. There’s plenty of unintentional comedy from the crazy hairstyles, tropes of the time, and outfits, but most of the humor comes from Eddie and crew going gangbusters with a snappy script that goes full tilt till the very last “hu hu hu!” out of Eddie Murphy’s mouth. Eddie is perfectly cast as Prince Akeem, playing the young prince as a charming and confident man who’s nervously just looking for love and his own identity. James Earl Jones is perfect as the powerful and intense King (when isn’t James Earl Jones forceful?), and Arsenio Hall is the perfect foil to Akeem, being the shy and timid one, while till making some of the best bungling jokes of the series.

    The film is a bit cliched if you look back at it honestly, but it does so with a sense of sincere 80s honesty that is perfect for the time period. John Landis sets the movie up as a “happily ever after” fantasy with all of the fantasy tropes built into the script. Darryl is the counterpart to what Akeem is SUPPOSED to be (selfish, vain, puts himself above others), while the frog (Akeem), is the true lover that is hidden underneath his ugly (aka, Poor) exterior. King Jaffe is the doting father who wants what is best for his son, but is blinded by his privilege, while Cleo is your typical father who wants what’s best for his daughter, but is blinded by his status as a richer than usual business owner. All culminating in a typical ending where everyone gets what they want and lives happily ever after. Simply put, it just works as a fluffy comedy that doesn't try to be anything its not.




    Rating:

    Rated R by the MPAA



    Video: :3.5stars:
    [​IMG]
    As with many of these classic films that Paramount re-releases on Blu-ray, Coming to America is saddled with the same old transfer from the 2007 disc. A transfer that was considered OK over a decade ago, but one that looks a little bit worse for wear in 2018. The colors are warm and well saturated, the detail levels are moderately pleasing, but there is a hefty layer of Digital Noise Reduction and the opening title screen is rather hazy and smeary. This leads to a smoother than normal looking picture that is more reminiscent of digital video than actual film source. Black levels are usually good, but some times the balance looks a bit off and some of the scenes get a bit milkier than they really should. It’s a perfectly decent transfer, but it’s not one that’s going to win any awards for stunner of the year.






    Audio: :3stars:
    [​IMG] Like the video transfer, the 5.1 Dolby Digital track is transferred over from the 2007 track without any upgrade to a modern 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix. The track is, once again, satisfactory in delivering the goods evenly and cleanly, but without any major aplomb. The track is spacious and pleasing to the ear, with well defined vocals and even front sound stage with the minimal sound effects. Musical reproduction is the main focus of this track, and once the film gets going the music flows effortlessly across all 6 speakers with even precision. The surrounds are fairly light, as this wasn’t a 5.1 theatrical mix, but there is enough ambiance in the tracks to give it a robust enough feeling. The LFE is the lightest aspect of the track, with very minimal punch and power, but there is enough addition to the music to get that sub working a bit.






    Extras: :2.5stars:
    [​IMG] • Vintage interviews with the cast
    • Behind-the-scenes featurettes
    • Photo gallery









    Final Score: :3.5stars:


    Coming to America is one of the films that put Eddie Murphy on the map as a bankable comedic actor, and is still one of his funniest John Landis directed films next to Trading Places (which I’ll be reviewing soon). The story is simple as all get out, the plot predictable, but Eddie Murphy manages to eek out every laugh he can out of the simple story line and does so with enthusiastic gusto that only Eddie Murphy in his prime could do. Personally, I would have liked to see Paramount update the new edition something other than new cover art and a new slipcover, but that’s the breaks. This is technically the exact same disc as the 2007 disc, just with fancy near artwork and a digital copy. So if you have the old disc, then there’s no real reason to put out your hard earned money. However, if you haven’t purchased the movie on Blu-ray, it comes at an attractive $8 price point, a digital copy and a pretty slipcover to entice you. So while I would have liked some better technical specs, the price point is right and the movie itself is recommended.


    Technical Specifications:

    Starring: Eddie Murphy, James Earl Jones, Arsenio Hall
    Directed by: John Landis
    Written by: Eddie Murphy, David Sheffield
    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
    Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French DD 2.0, Spanish DD Mono
    Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
    Studio: Paramount
    Rated: R
    Runtime: 116 minutes
    Blu-Ray Release June 12th, 2018






    Recommendation: Fun Movie

     
    #1 Michael Scott, Jun 10, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
    tripplej likes this.
  2. tripplej

    tripplej AV Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the review. Great movie that I enjoyed long time ago. Will have to check it out for nostalgia.
     
  3. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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  4. thrillcat

    thrillcat Active Member

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    The Golden Child was funnier than Trading Places. Don't @ me.
     
  5. Asere

    Asere AV Addict

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    I remember watching it over and over on cable. It is hilarious!
     

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